From the Council of Trent, CHAPTER XIV, On the Fallen, and their Restoration.
But those who through sin have fallen away from the received grace of justification, may again be justified, when, God exciting them, through the sacrament of penance, they, by the merit of Christ, shall have obtained the recovery of the grace lost. For this manner of justification is unto the fallen the reparation, which the holy fathers have aptly called a second plank after the shipwreck of grace lost. For, on behalf of those who after baptism fall into sins, Christ Jesus instituted the sacrament of penance, when He said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye shall remit, they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins ye shall retain, they are retained. Whence it is to be taught, that the penitence of a Christian man after his fall, is very different from that at his baptism; and that therein are included not only a cessation from sins, and a detestation thereof, or, a contrite and humble heart, but also the sacramental confession of the same sins, at least in desire, and to be made in its season, and sacerdotal absolution; and likewise satisfaction by fasts, almsgivings, prayers, and the other pious exercises of a spiritual life; not indeed for the eternal punishment, which is, together with the guilt, remitted, either by the sacrament, or by the desire of the sacrament; but for the temporal punishment, which, as the sacred writings teach, is not always wholly remitted, as is done in baptism, unto those who, ungrateful to the grace of God which they have received, have grieved the Holy Spirit, and have not feared to defile the temple of God. Concerning which penitence it is written: Remember from whence thou art fallen; do penance, and do the first works. And again: The sorrow that is according to God worketh penance steadfast unto salvation. And again: Do penance, and bring forth fruits worthy of penance.
- Ep. ad Demetr.
- John xx. 22, 23.
- Ps. l. 19 (li. 17).
- Ephes. iv. 30.
- 1 Cor. iii. 17.
- Apoc. ii. 5, “repent and do,” &c.
- “Worketh repentance,” 2 Cor. vii. 10.
- Matt. iii. 2; Luke iii. 8, with the customary mistranslation of μετανοήσατε.